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Prop. 8 supporters argue same-sex weddings now would create 'harmful uncertainty'

August 6, 2010 | 12:11 pm

Proposition 8 overturned

In asking Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker to put his historic marriage ruling on hold, supporters of Proposition 8 cite admissions by Walker, one of the gay plaintiffs and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to argue that same-sex weddings now would produce harmful uncertainty.

In a motion filed on the eve of Walker’s decision to overturn the marriage ban, lawyers for Proposition 8’s backers noted they were prepared to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to seek a stay — a court-ordered hold — on any ruling that overturned the 2008 ballot measure.

At the least, the proponents of Proposition 8 said, they would like a seven-day postponement to give them time to obtain a stay from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawyers reminded the federal judge that he refused last year to block the measure before trial because he said he did not want to inject “still further uncertainty” into the legality of gay marriages.

Proponents of Proposition 8 also cited Walker’s admission at the time that the case was “only touching down” in his court.

“What happens here, in many ways, is only a prelude to what is going to happen later,” Walker said before denying a pretrial motion to suspend the marriage ban.

The anti-gay marriage request also cited testimony by Sandra Stier, one of the four challengers of Proposition 8, that she and her partner did not marry during the six months when same-sex nuptials were legal in California because they feared the marriage might be invalidated later.

Noting that Brown was “no friend” of Proposition 8, the proponents reminded the court that his office last year argued the judge “should factor in the potential harm to a broad section of the general public from subsequent invalidation of possibly thousands of marriages, as well as the ongoing uncertainty about their validity that would persist until a final determination by an appellate court.”

Arguments from opponents of Proposition 8 will be filed later today.

Walker has not said when he will rule on the matter.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Steve Proo joined hundreds of other gay-rights supporters at a rally outside San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday, after a federal judge struck down Proposition 8. (Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times / August 4, 2010)